Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Let's talk about kids with special needs and special Disney treatment


When word got out last week that Disney is changing its program for people with disabity at Disney World and Disneyland, many parents of kids with special needs wondered what it would mean for their families' experiences. What's left me even more concerned: The rude, ignorant and insensitive comments people have made. Ones like nobody should get "special treatment" at Disney and that parents of kids with special needs are "over-entitled." Some people have questioned why parents would even bother to take their children with special needs to Disney, given the noise and crowds. Others noted that we should teach our children to wait. Meanwhile, the media's run headlines such as "Disneyland: Disabled Will No Longer Skip Lines," as if our kids are outright cutting lines.

So, OK, let's talk about kids with special needs and special treatment.

Why do kids with disabilities have issues at Disney? 

It depends on the child. Max has both cerebral palsy and sensory issues, because of his neurological condition. Like children with autism, he is startled by loud noises or din. Crowds freak him out, even the mere sight of them. He starts to cry and screech, unnerved, upset and scared. This is the way it often goes at restaurants, museums, events and until recently, our place of worship. Noise-blocking headphones help, though not always.

Max's CP means that his muscle have to work harder than other children's do. He walks well but it takes a lot out of him; when Max falls asleep at night, he is usually exhausted from all the energy he's expended even if he's done nothing but go to school and come home. If he's standing around for long periods of time, his muscles can tighten up and it's uncomfortable, another reason why a long wait on a line could pose problems. We use strollers on trips, but at Disney it hasn't mattered because Max still freaks about the throngs of people on lines.

That's my kid. Other children with disabilities and medical needs can have problems with body-temperature control, epilepsy and extreme anxiety, to name a few issues that make waiting on a line unsafe or impossible.

Can't you control your child?

This isn't about bad parenting; this is about how a child's brain is wired. If I could coax or teach my son to be less scared of crowds or noise, or there was some therapy that did the trick, trust me: I would have done it. Why wouldn't I? It would better his life, our family life, my life.

Then why would a parent bring a child who has endurance or sensory issues to Disneyland or Disney World, two super-crowded, noisy places?

Even though kids with disabilities may seem seem unlike other kids because they speak, walk, behave and think differently, at heart they are still kids. They like to go on rides, just maybe not the dark or loud ones. Plenty love Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald Duck, Daisy D., Tinkerbell, Cinderella, [insert favorite Disney character here]. Some, like my son, can be obsessed with them; Max thinks he and Lightning McQueen were separated at birth. Our kids may genuinely want to meet up with these characters, although they can get overwhelmed when it actually happens.

Parents of kids with special needs are like other parents, too. We want to make our kids happy, along with their siblings. So we're game to try Disney even though it's one expensive crapshoot. There is no trip-cancellation insurance you can buy in case your child with special needs refuses to enter a theme park, as happened to us once (at a local place, thankfully) or vastly prefers the hotel room to the resort (our first experience at Disney World). But off to Disney we go with noise-blocking headphones, hopes for the best and reassurance that there are accommodations for our children's needs.

How exactly is a special pass supposed to help with a child's special needs? 

We've gotten a General Assistance Card (GAC) each of the two times we've taken our kids to Disney World. They enabled us to go through an attraction entrance other than the main one, where possible, and to use Max's stroller as a wheelchair so we could get closer to the start of rides.


Disney staffers typically let us in through an alternate entrance or an exit door, where we'd wait for a bit to get on a ride or meet characters. Sometimes, we ended up on the Fastpass line. We skipped shows entirely because Max was terrified. Was I gleeful that we avoided major lines at the attractions? No, I was relieved, because there was no way Max would have endured them. A quieter, low-key, quick entry is what it takes for my child and many others to experience attractions at Disney. As writer Shannon Des Roches Rosa, mom to a son with autism, said in a post, "Our love of the GAC is not because we get to skip lines and blow raspberries at all the chumps who don't. Skipping lines is not a convenience but a necessary accommodation for our boy."

Isn't the new Disney system of giving people with disabilities a designated return time more "fair" than allowing them to go directly to a ride? 

Disney has stated it's changing its program for people with disabilities because of the widely-reported abuse of it—not because they considered it "unfair." For people who think, We both paid Disney the same amount for a visit and those people get to go in quicker—not fair!, here's another thought: Being part of a civilized society (and being a decent human being) means accommodating people of all abilities. We have accessible ramps to buildings, elevator buttons with braille, closed captions on TV; allowing kids who have issues waiting on line speedy access to rides is another kind of accessibility. Just how the new Disney system for visitors with disabilities will provide the accommodations certain kids need remains to be seen.

If parents of kids with special needs expect accommodations for them, how can they also wish that people would treat their kids like other kids? Isn't that hypocritical?

Actually, they go hand in hand. I ache for people to see the ability in my son's disability and treat him like other kids, rather than staring, pitying him or both. Yet in order for him to be more like other kids—and enjoy the same pleasures in life—he may need extra help at times. Accommodations do not make him separate; they make him more equal. They enable him to have the fun other kids do. And at Disney, they make his dreams come true.

53 comments:

  1. Great explanations! I'm afraid I fell victim to replying in a juvenile way to an "anon" comment on your previous Disney pass post. Gah! Hate when I sink to that level. :)

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  2. Very well said. My daughter has temperature regulation issues and one way we hope to make our (eventual) trip easier is to go in the fall/winter months (like there is such a time in FL). She loves watching Disney and I desperately want to make her trip the best possible.

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    1. I used to live in Florida and it can actually get quite chilly Nov-March. Many days are in the 50's-60's, overcast. I recommend layers. Have fun!

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  3. Here's my thought. No one would have problems with kids like max havin accommodations or even "skipping lines" entirely. But there are too many people willing to claim that their special snowflake can't wait in line. From what I have heard from a Disney connected person Disney was happy that the clear abuse of those hired guides let them change the system with less of a PR disaster. Disney can't ask for proof that ypu need accomodation at least according to them. But to me it would make sense for them to work with some organization that does (like the ones for kids with serious illness) to provide the medical verification of the need. Yes this would be more of a pain for the disabled but in return you'd get full line avoidance and less resentment I think.

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  4. Who would ask then why would a parent bring a child who has endurance or sensory issues to Disneyland or Disney World, two super-crowded, noisy places? Every kid loves DisneyLand.

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    1. Because it is a wonderful idea to take a kid with autism who hates and physically cannot cope with crowds, loud noises and waiting in line to the most crowded, loudest, longest-lined place on the planet? Parents of such a child are certainly entitled to take such a child to Disneyland, I am simply baffled by why on earth they'd WANT to.

      A family with a kid who'd had a kidney transplant (tires easily, immuno suppressed due to meds that help ensure the kidney isn't rejected) to a remote Indonesian island during malaria season. A parent with a kid with CP who tires easily could take said child on a strenuous hiking vacation to Everest Base Camp. I could buy my kid whose terrified of spiders a pet tarantula. That doesn't make it a good idea.

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    2. Because, Sandee, that child with autism may very much WANT to go to Disney, for reasons I mentioned above. And his parents might be willing to give it a try, especially because they know there are accommodations for that child.

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    3. There is also so much more to the Disney experience for children with CP Apraxia Cortical Visual Impairment and Autism Like my Daughter has. At Disney the characters come up to my daughter and she can feel them and hug them and see them. She can sit in the front of a show and see and hear and when its overload they are kind to let us leave in the middle. They puree her food at all hotel restaurants and some sites in the park. THey allow her therapy dog. They have gentle up and down rides they she can do over again. They let her ride with her typically Developing sisters together. Why would we bring our kids here? WHy wouldn't we?

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  5. My younger son is functionally much like Max, albeit with a form of dyspraxia in lieu of the CP. Learning about the GAC program had put my mind to ease about trying Disney. Our older child, who has Asperger's, can probably manage without special accommodation if we plan well, but I am anxious how the demise of the GAC card will affect our family's experience when we arrive at Disney for the first time the day the program changes.

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  6. Perfectly said! The GAC has been a life saver for our sweet girl. We would've never been able to do Disney without it!

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  7. Thank you for this amazing post and for breaking down the facts here. We could not do Disney without that card and I'm not sure we will be able to do it now that they have changed things.

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  8. I understand people wanting to take their children with disabilities places, however, I can't help but think of one blog I read where the mother talked about how many rides they got to do because of the pass. Yes, it's great that they got to experience that. But really, how is it fair that my 9 year old who is just as obsessed with Disney gets to do half of what your child did? I really do go back and forth with this pass issue because, no, I don't have a special needs child, but he is still an impatient, normal child who doesn't particularly like long lines, crowds or loud noises. Our trip to Disney was fun, but was not a breeze, he had temper tantrums like any child will, was impatient, and scared at some things, but had a great time. Anyway, I guess this is just me going back and forth with the issue and not really adding anything.

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    1. I don't know where you read that, but I don't know many parents of kids with special needs who would ever gloat about accommodations. In any case, you might want to read more about kids with sensory issues and autism and their reactions, if you care to educate yourself. Their sensitivity to noise and crowds and their reactions are far more extreme than those of a typically-developing child's. I am, however, stumped by your line "I understand people wanting to take their children with disabilities places." WTF? Why WOULDN'T WE?

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  9. Our family used the GAC program several years ago at Disneyland. My daughter has Asperger's, and falls truly in the Shadow Syndrome category. You would not ever recognize anything different about her, unless you are closely in tune to her nuances. The average person would conclude we are just taking advantage of a program designed for people with more severe needs. There's another side to the program that I think people are sometimes unwilling to identify, for fear of sounding intolerant. The GAC program, in my daughter's case, improved the experience of other guests as much as it improved our experience. Disney guests who spend 30-120 minutes standing in queue with her....will understand why families like ours should have access to the program as well. They don't need to spend their day having their patience and tolerance pushed by a kid who just cannot control herself in that type of environment. I appreciate that the world should be more accepting, but I find my daughter's behaviors frustrating and difficult to deal with. We would either have to leave the line or risk angering everyone in our proximity. Being bumped into, hit with the chain, climbing, listening to constant corrections....in tight space, while hot and uncomfortable... We attempted Disney without the GAC program. 15 minutes after being in the park, we all wanted to leave. We pressed on, attempting Dumbo. We made it through the approximately 40 minute wait, but barely. I thought, as I usually do, that only we had noticed how difficult these things were for our family. After the Dumbo experience, we acquired the GAC card. It was that or abandon our 3 day vacation. The next day - late in the afternoon - we rode Peter Pan, and came across a Disney employee who had been working Dumbo during our ride the previous day. She remembered us, and was clearly pleased we had a card and would no longer be frustrating all the other guests in the park! While we did get the occasional 'why do you have that pass' looks (and even questions), we were confident that those people would have a far different opinion of their casual observation of our family if they saw us without the card. I hope the new program works out in such a way that Disney is able to continue to accommodate families like ours, without exposing themselves to the abuse by the small group that attempted to profit from the program.

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    1. Great point! I have two children with disabilities, one has CP and sensory issues, with his leg braces and special stroller his disability is very visible. My seven year old with Aspergers, not so much!! I'd much rather get dirty looks for using the card, then those "control your child" looks when he has a meltdown in a crowded place.

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  10. Well said. My son has an invisible disability and so many do not get it. I would actually be happy to bring some form of proof with me to Disney. Unfortunately , our trip to Disney will have to wait several more years.

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  11. I think the issue people have with the GAC pass is that there are many NT (or possibly undiagnosed) children who also have a lot of trouble standing in line and tolerating crowded places. My daughter has mild cerebral palsy, but is fine with lines and crowds. Her NT little brother would go absolutely nuts. I decided not to try taking them to Disney because it wouldn't be fun for us parents dealing with our little one in such a hectic environment. Of course, I could have gotten a special pass for my daughter, but I felt like that would have been abusing the system since it would have really been for her brother.

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  12. I love your blog. You have such a clear, positive, common sense approach to issues. I do not have a disabled child and don't know much about disability and I have learned so much here. I would not have objected to the old program, because I can only imagine the difficulties of raising a disabled child - and going to Disney, which is taxing under the best of circumstances!

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    1. Thank you. Please know that, speaking for myself here and I'm sure many other parents of kids with special needs, I have never once felt that Disney or any other place "owed" me an accommodation because I otherwise have it so rough. (Which I don't so much, because Max is an awesome kid.) I just think accessibility should be a given in our society.

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  13. Thank you so much for this post. Our society needs to be more sensitive, aware and helpful towards people with disabilities. Important conversation for a more humane and caring society. Please keep it going.

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  14. In my opinion, as an adult with CP who is often using a power chair, this issue goes beyond Disney, For me, particularly as I age, it's about conserving my limited energy. Though I love to be active in the community, standing or sitting for long periods of time does not help my body at all. This issue is about making reasonable accommodations, but unfortunately what is reasonable to one, may appear as abuse to another. And, although I haven't been to WDW recently, I never needed a guest card of any kind. My WC was too wide to fit through most queues and I waited at the exit.

    I will admit however, there are times when asking to enter a concert or event ahead of the crowd does have an advantage, I have learned however, not to expect an accommodation, and if someone is willing to go the extra mile, I am grateful. Interestingly, I have had 5 people compliment the design or color of my wheelchair this week. It is a custom chair that was made by my equipment company, after 3 fittings and 6 months of paperwork. There was a tinge of jealously in the comments, like I had a cool new toy, and people wanted to run to Target and get one. I think this is a cultural issue too, far too easy for almost anyone to buy a scooter or wheelchair, and that is possibly contributing to abuse by people who may not have a documented need for an assistance device.

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    1. "People wanted to run to Target and get one": [snort]. I hear you on conserving energy, Max expends so much every single day.

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  15. What if Disney -- a private, for-profit corporation -- chose to offer special accommodations at an extra cost? It would be a relatively low cost, let's say $5 for a single-use, instant-access pass per ride/attraction for a disabled guest and 3 co-riders. These would need to be purchased in advance, and subject to a verification process to reduce abuse. You buy only what you need, so perhaps 10 attractions for a 3-day trip, adding $50 to the park cost of a family of four.

    What would be your thoughts on a policy like that?

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    1. It's illegal to charge extra for disability accommodations.

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    2. Right... It's an interesting thought, Matt, but even if it were legal I think it would be wrong to make parents of kids with disabilities or people with disabilities pay for accommodations.

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    3. We pay more than anyone could ever imagine. I get no Gov. assistance for my child and insurance doesn't cover behavioral therapy, operations like stem-cells hyperbarack oxygen ect. my daughter has 5/10 operations under anathema a year, and needs to be cared for the rest of her life. I think asking to pay extra for a Disney pass is beyond disgraceful, besides illegal.
      Think about the burdens special needs families have to pay for beyond typically developing children's families

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  16. With the last point you made I thought of the meme that went around Facebook that said something like there were 3 boys who wanted to watch a baseball game. One boy could easily see over the fence. One boy could almost see over the fence but still too short to see over the fence and the third boy was way to short to see over the fence. Someone had dropped off 3 wooden crates. Fairness would say each boy has equal access to each crate but logic would state the the tall boy doesn't need a crate because he can already see over the fence. The middle sized boy only needs one crate but the short boy needs two crates, thus creating an environment where they are all equal height and see the game.

    This world shouldn't be about being fair and equal to everyone. The world should be about leveling the playing field so everyone has an equal chance at success.

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    1. Having an equal chance would mean going on the same number of rides. I think accommodations are fine but skipping a line entirely isn't making anything equal. A disability doesn't mean you should get to go on double the rides as another child. Having a spot held in line to come back to seems like a good alternative.

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    2. If you say "accommodations are fine" but in the same breath you say it is not OK if a child who can't wait on lines gets to go directly into a ride, then you clearly don't actually think accommodations are fine. Should the new system entail lines, it will be a challenge for many families, ditto for the transitions involved. Also, If you read through comments on this blog and others where people have written on this, you'll see parents noting that their children with special needs actually do not get to go on double the rides. A lot of our kids have less stamina then other children, and we end up leaving the parks far earlier than other families. Last time we were at WDW, either me or my husband had to take Max back to the hotel room at around 3 or so, he was done for the day.

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    3. Rebecca: I had never read that analogy and I love it, thank you for sharing. And, y-e-s, it's about leveling the playing field.

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    4. Ellen, we take our 8 yr old back to the hotel by 1:30/2:00 everyday we are there too.

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  17. Well said! We used the GAC last November. Our son has CP and is deaf and we use his wheelchair for distance. The GAC was a blessing to us and we would not have been able to make the trip without it. In some instances, we actually had to wait longer b/c they only allowed one out of every 3 cars to allow for handicap access (he can transfer w/ assistance). We agree that they system is being abused. What we found most frustrating was the adults using motorized scooters. While they too might have mobility issues, it was hard to have to wait in line for the Toy Story ride behind adults who had no children with them. We also had issues with the scooters in traveling to/from the Disney properties. With the busses only allowing for 2 (sometimes 3) wheelchairs/scooters, we often had to wait an hour just to get to a park. In fact, when leaving MK, we waited well over an hour to get a bus... Our exhausted 5 year old in a wheel chair behind adults in scooters. Other visitors were shocked when they didn't allow us to go ahead of them. We realize we were #3 in line for the bus and understand waiting in line for our turn, we were extremely frustrated. Depending on the effect of the changes may affect if we return in the future. :(

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  18. Thank you Rebecca! Wish the rest of the naysayers could try to understand that...

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  19. Out of all the lines in this post- that has to be my favourite one- can't you make your child walk? My answer is no, although you are welcome to try and alter Abby's brain so she can, haha.

    I can only hope the negative self righteous prigs in this world understand that. Like Max, my daughter will require a GAC card when we will go to Disney in November 2013 because she has CP.

    Brig- if they were using mobility scooters, then they probably have mobility issues, think about it yeah..

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  20. I have to agree with Brig... scenes like the one she describes with the shuttle buses make me furious as well. In my area, I also see this with public buses and elevators. At times, I've had to wait while an entire elevator is full of ambulatory people, and I've got no other option. I hate to make assumptions (ie my issue is more deserving than yours), but it does get on my nerves. If I had the option of walking up 2 flights of stairs (physically speaking), I would certainly do it. My immediate family is very good about taking the stairs, or breaking up a group if needed, but we are perhaps the minority. I think as a culture, we are becoming lazy and very entitled.

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  21. For all those who complain that their non-disabled kids can't wait in line, it raises a question of whether a trip to Disney is age-appropriate for very young preschoolers. It's sad that an attraction for little kids is not appropriate for many healthy little kids, but you have to know your kid.

    As an aside, while I have not taken him to Disney, my nonverbal autistic 9 year old tolerated a 45-minute line for the monorail at the Bronx Zoo, so even though he's definitely disabled, he might not need an accommodation. Everyone is different.

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  22. So well said. My daughter has CP and uses a wheelchair. When we went to Disney, they usually put us on the FastPass line. One ride couldn't accommodate her wheelchair, so we took her out and held her; she can't sit up without assistance. She wanted to go on the ride again. Instead of letting us stay on, they made us take her off, put her back in her wheelchair, and walk the five feet back to the FastPass line. Needless to say, I wasn't pleased. We went to Universal later that week. Much friendlier and much more accommodating for us. We were turned off by Disney even before this new policy.

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    1. You were upset that your daughter wanted to go on the ride a second time and the staff *gasp* made her get off (just like everybody else) instead of letting her stay on, seriously?? Really?? To you, that was a reasonable accommodation-type request, rather than a demand for preferential treatment?

      (That's not unlike Shannon of Squidalicious who merrily bragged her boy with autism went on Star Tours 5x in a row, then Nemo 4x in a row and a ton of other rides without having to spend a single second waiting in line. Because his life is so very difficult that getting treated like a rock star at Mouse House is his due).

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    2. If you regularly read her blog, you'd know that Shannon's not a bragger, and certainly not about THIS. She was sharing her experiences. And you know, given that the above family was already granted access to go through the FastPass line, it sure doesn't seem outrageous to me if they asked not to have her lift her up and put her back again only to return to FastPass. I realize I'm not objective. But even if I didn't have a kid with disabilities, I know I would still think this is the humane thing to do.

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  23. I still think that the new system sounds better than the old one: waiting more comfortably, not standing in line, but not getting to go on more rides...

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  24. We flew from Australia to LA to give our special kiddos (plural...two of them) the Disney experience. The GAC made our time there the most pleasant experience we've ever had out ANYWHERE as a family of four. Could we have done the Disney experience without it? No. Am I gutted that people are taking advantage of it just to skip lines? Absolutely. Do I wish my beautiful children were 'normal' and didn't need a GAC to help them cope? Hell yes. But is life the way it is and we just do our best to cope. Yes again. p.s. My daughter summonsing up the courage to hug Minnie, all on her own, will remain with me as one of the greatest moments of my life. My daughter GLOWED after that as did I......

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  25. Well done! This is a great explanation. I am going to share this.

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  26. Good to know because the band I'm in has a Disneyland band trip. I'm autistic, but I am fine with lines.

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  27. Shame on all the people who are whining because their neurotypical child doesn't get to skip line too. I have two disabled children, Aspergers and CP. I would love to not have to "skip line" at theme parks. I'd be thrilled if my children didn't have the struggles that they have to endure, every single day of their lives.

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  28. We are very disappointed with this change... especially since we are planning to take our Autistic daughter to Disney in October when the change takes place. She, like most kids, LOVES Disney ("my favorite place in the world!"). I agree that the current program needed some adjustments, but the new program is definitely going to cause problems for our daughter. I would much rather prefer a system where you could slide a pass to go on a ride ONCE (without much of a wait), but then not be able to go on that same ride AGAIN for a specific amount of time (for example, one hour). That may prevent both anxiety/meltdowns from our special needs children AND "multiple ride" abuse. Just a thought... Hoping (and praying) that we still have a "magical" experience at Disney this time around without the pass...

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  29. My youngest son (in a wheelchair) had the best Disney experience in 2009 using his GAC. We are a family of 5 and were treated so well. I hope it still remains a good system even in this new incarnation. The sad part is, celebrities can still get the VIP treatment when they arrive, just because they are celebrities. Sad.

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  30. This may sound harsh, but if the parents of typical kids who are complaining about accommodations could spend one week parenting a child with special needs then they would change their views. My child has CF and sometimes needs accomadations to do things other kids do. I wish he didn't! But why make life even harder and watch him miss out because ignorant people have no clue what it's like to have his medical needs. And yes, I know how typical children have trouble waiting, with crowds, etc. but please, give our kids a break!

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  31. To all the people who think it is a dumb idea to take a kid with sensory issues to Disney World... so if you had a child with autism, and he saw the commercials about Disney Land and he really, really wanted to go, would you tell him, "No, because you're different from other kids, and Disney Land is not for kids like you?" I think any "special treatment" people with special needs get at Disney and other places is not because parents think they just deserve a break more than other people, but because parents need a way to give their kids the same experience that other kids have, while trying to work around any obstacles presented by the child's special needs.
    If anyone has a problem with that... maybe YOU are the one who should stay home from Disney!

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  32. It's almost as interesting to read the comments as it was to read the blog! Here are some of the things I thought about while reading:
    Some people will never see the world from anyone else's perspective but their own; they don't even really try. I don't have special needs; I don't have a child with special needs. I did, however, spend a weekend as a tourist in DC in a wheelchair. I was amazed at how rude people are - I was pushed out of the way, I had people look at me and then pretend I wasn't there to crowd ahead of me in long lines just because they could. And there wasn't anything I could do about it. I'm sure they were all thinking, "Why should she get special treatment?" So in return, I waited longer than others. Many sights I couldn't see because people would pry their way in front of me at a window in a museum (of tolerance, I might add!) or other such display... In 3 days, one person offered to let me go ahead of her, and then she smiled, and offered to push me there because so many others were crowding ahead. ONE person. I wasn't looking for help, or extra consideration. ANY consideration would have been nice. So I think some people will always be angry at another person who appears to get more, they will always think only of themselves. To all of you, I hope that someday someone gives you something for free, and instead of feeling it was so well-deserved, or hard-earned, I truly hope you can just appreciate it for what it is - human kindness - and then, perhaps you will return the favor.
    And back to the important part of the post - ALL parents experiencing a great park? It's a nightmare for all of us. We come out exhausted, hands and clothes pretty filthy, no matter how many coats of soap or sanitizer, wallets pretty empty, minds full of the attractions we missed because we our child fell asleep 3 people before we got to the head of the line or because we really needed to find an emergency peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And despite it all, we loved it! Our kids laughed harder than ever at the Toy Story ride, or hid from the princess they've been wanting to meet for years -- we witnessed unadulterated JOY on the faces of the children we'd give our lives for. Shouldn't every parent and child have the opportunity to torture ourselves into happiness? I mean really - doesn't everyone get way more than we should ever expect at Disneyland? That's the whole point of the park! And if you're upset that another kid gets more than yours - go about it the real American way - buy it, or lie until someone gives it to your kid too - that'll make you feel all better!

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  33. My son has a disability...all the trips to Disney in the past we "made do" which meant that some things we didn't do...waiting under the tree of life is so anxiety provoking for him even tho he really wants to see the show! And last time we ALMOST made it! But by the time our turn came to enter the theater, he was in full panic attack so we ended up walking right out the exit door on the other side after we got him off the floor. I was hoping that this time we could wait by an exit and when the rest of the family got into the theater we could just join them...we would still be waiting, but in a different area. Now I am not so sure. And this is just one example. This time I had planned on getting the GAC which I avoided in the past trying to help him be as normal as possible. Now that it has changed, we will still try it, but I am not sure how much it will help. His headphones help, but being shoulder to shoulder in waiting areas on his feet for long periods is a challenge. Being a parent is not easy, being the parent of a child with special needs is even harder! Every time someone is kind makes a very special impression on us.

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  34. I am disgusted by the last 2 comments on the previous post about Disney. These are innocent children who didn't ask to be born with special needs, and parents who are just doing their bes. It's disgusting that there are people in this world who would say such things.

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  35. Ellen, I appreciate the way you laid out the issue, and it did open my eyes more as to why you would bring children to Disney even though everything there is a potential spark that might set them off.

    However, I still don't agree that front of the line access, as was often granted under GAC is the right way to go. Yes, you paid your money, and you want (and deserve) to have a magical time with your children. But I paid my money as well, and standing in line for an hour,while dozens of people go to the front of the line and then ride the same ride over and over and over with no wait does impact my family in a negative way. There needs to be a balance, and I think Disney is doing their best to find that balance with the new system.

    I will also disagree with you on Shannon des Roches Rosa. I've followed her blog for some time, and while she does have much to offer, when something doesn't go her way, she comes off as a very bitter, angry person. She's also quite hypocritical. She DID brag about the way that Leo toured Disney. The experience she described most certainly wasn't simply accommodations, it was privileged treatment.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for sharing!



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